Wind turbine noise affects children too: who is looking out for them?

Off to school: but did they get any sleep? These boys have 7 turbines within 1500 metres of their family home near Goderich in Ontario

 

One of the key findings in the 2015 report produced by the Council of Canadian Academies, at the request of Health Canada, was that there is little research on the effects of wind turbine noise emissions on certain “sensitive populations, such as children and infants and people affected by clinical conditions* that may lead to an increased sensitivity to sound.” (page xvii)

The Council report already established that wind turbines produce “distinctive” sound including low-frequency tones, which may not be “captured properly by standard frequency-weighted measurements (e.g., dB(A)” — this is the method used by the Ontario government to “screen” wind turbine noise for compliance with regulations.

“Canada’s passive health surveillance system does not collect information about exposure related to wind turbines,” the Council noted (page 18).

The Health Canada study on wind turbine noise excluded participants under the age of 18.

In the documents received from the (then) Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change via a request under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (which was delayed and blocked at every turn), many of the reports contained explicit mention of adverse health effects, including among families with young children.

A parent’s nightmare

In Port Elgin, Ontario, where the single wind turbine operated by Unifor has had more than 320 formal reports of excessive noise and vibration filed by families, one family spoke to Saugeen Shores Council about the horrific effects on their children.

“…. five days after start up, with a strong south east wind, we were getting the full impact. I lay in bed, with the windows closed, listening to the variable swoosh of each blade pass, my wife had night sweats, a head ache and could not sleep, she moved from bed to couch and back again, and again. Two young children were wide awake, three hours after normal bedtime, and one was trembling uncontrollably. This is a parent’s, and spouses’, nightmare.”

In a 2014 report on a conference on wind turbine noise and health impacts held in Ireland, Dr. Alun Evans, professor emeritus in epidemiology at Queen’s University, Belfast, said that sleep disturbance is emerging as one of the major public health concerns in the world today, and particularly affected children and the elderly.

In Ontario, we have a federal government-sponsored report that says there is a “paucity” of research on protecting children from wind turbine noise, we have another federal government report that didn’t study anyone under the age of 18, and yet we have regulations in Ontario that are clearly inadequate in the face of thousands of unresolved reports of excessive noise and vibration.

Predictive modeling–not real investigation

The Ministry of the Environment relies on predictive modelling supplied by turbine manufacturers, and, as one councilor in Kincardine said at a presentation by the (then) MOECC last December, the noise monitoring protocol in Ontario is designed to prove compliance with regulations.

Worse, we have a government spokesperson (Rick Chappell of the environment ministry’s Owen Sound office) who publicly stated that health effects due to wind turbine noise are “a matter of opinion.”

Who is protecting children in Ontario’s rural communities and homes?

 

*those conditions can include mental illnesses, autism spectrum disorder, and multiple sclerosis

CanWEA’s Alberta-Ontario power play

Big Wind’s Canadian lobbyist is not letting the bad experiences in Ontario halt its “green” dream, and is now focused on Alberta. (And, it really really hopes Ontario forgets all the bad stuff.)

 

Angry Ontario citizen confronts Dalton McGuinty, sponsor of Ontario’s Green Energy Act which began the wind power invasion of rural Ontario. She’s still mad…

September 4, 2018

 

The Canadian Wind Energy Association or CanWEA is enacting a hard-hitting PR campaign, promoting wind power as a “low-cost” form of electrical power generation that can also provide hundreds of jobs. Aimed at hard-hit Alberta, the message is clear: you get to meet climate/environment goals, grow your economy (or at least keep it from going over a cliff), and replace the faltering oil industry.

The lobbyist even points to a recent report that apparently confirms all that so you don’t have to just take their word for it.

But there’s a problem. Energy commentator Parker Gallant in his newest post says that the report referred to by CanWEA fails to explain that the jobs will be temporary, and also, that they may not actually be in Alberta.

And there’s another problem: the newest rosy outlook for wind power fails to chronicle the disastrous history of wind power development in Ontario. Two Auditors General took the previous Liberal governments to task for pushing wind power forward without any cost-benefit analysis, and current Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has noted that, because of above-market contracts awarded by those same McGuinty and Wynne governments, Ontario’s electricity customers overpaid for power by more than $9 billion.

The Association of Ontario Food Banks linked growing poverty and specifically “energy poverty” to Ontario’s skyrocketing electricity bills, in its 2016 annual report on hunger in the province.

Electricity bills have been named as a factor in businesses leaving Ontario and job losses.

But even looking back at a road full of failure—high electricity bills, environmental harm such as dead birds and endangered bats, and thousands of citizen noise complaints—CanWEA is not giving up where money might still be made. The lobbyist is hoping to sway the new Ford government not to cancel wind power contracts as the PC Party pledged to do during the election because wind power can happily fill in for nuclear plants when several units have to go offline in a couple of years for refurbishment. Rumour has it they have even purchased ads on Toronto Transit vehicles.

The sad fact, omitted by CanWEA, is that wind can’t replace anything. It is intermittent, unreliable, and in Ontario, produced out-of-phase with demand. Output from Ontario’s closed coal power plants was made up by nuclear and hydro.

Ontario’s Society of Professional Engineers says that, because wind power is intermittent and needs back-up from other forms of generation, meaning natural gas, wind power will actually increase carbon emissions, not reduce them.

It’s even worse than that: According to Marc Brouillette who wrote a report for the Coalition for Clean Energy, wind power in Ontario is wasted almost 70 percent of the time. Moreover, Ontario electricity customers not only pay for wasted power, they pay generators NOT to produce power during frequent situations of surplus.

Low-cost? Reliable?

Energy analyst Steve Aplin of Ottawa recently commented on Twitter in response to CanWEA’s that wind power is a “sinkhole for ratepayers’ money.”

We really hope Alberta is smarter than politicians were back in 2003 in Ontario; we hope they can see the truth.

Contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

Courtesy Steve Aplin

Massachusetts environmental protection department flunks wind farm compliance test

Acoustics firm hired by power giant Con Edison fails to show compliance with noise regulations, and uses some pretty dodgy methodology, too

Missing data, fudged presentations and contempt for reporting protocol–how the wind industry shows compliance with protective regulations [Shutterstock photo]
August 22, 2018

With thanks to Wind Wise Maine

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has rejected a technical report provided to the Town of Plymouth by Con Edison Inc., on wind turbines and compliance with noise regulations.

The technical report was prepared by Tech Environmental Inc., an environmental consulting firm based in Waltham, Mass.

In a politely written but nonetheless excoriating review letter, the DEP noted several critical points in the consultants’ report:

  • There were no compliance audit data available at the time of commissioning as is required
  • Two of the five turbines were turned off completely during monitoring
  • Noise assessment was to be done during the quietest hours of the night so as to indicate a worst-case scenario, specifically 12 -4 a.m.; the assessment was done for two hours only, from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  • The consultant did not follow the government-required protocol for the presentation of data
  • Several data points were missing entirely

As a result, the Massachsuetts DEP said, it was “unable to concur with Tech Environmental Inc.’s conclusion” that the noise assessment demonstrated compliance with the noise limits.

Read the relevant correspondence here:

https://windwisema.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/dep-response-letter-tech-env-plymouthsound-stdy.pdf

This wholesale manipulation of data and flagrant contempt for regulations designed to protect health of the residents forced to live nearby industrial-scale wind turbines seems endemic to the wind power development industry.

In Ontario, many wind power projects are without completed acoustic Immission Audits post-operation as they are required and, when called on to perform assessments in the recent example of two homes in the Underwood project, seem free to manipulate the data at will. We regret too the news that the Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks has now accepted a noise abatement plan for the problematic single turbine operated by union Unifor, despite hundreds of complaints filed over five years, and the fact that noise complaints began on day one of the pilot noise abatement plan.

More government departments need to perform actual technical review of the material presented by power developers, and call them to account. If in violation, curtailment and shutdown need to be enforced, immediately.

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

Wind power project with 100s of complaints deemed ‘compliant’ says Environment ministry

Residents near the Underwood turbines have been waiting for a long time to get help for disturbing noise … they’re not getting it.

Ontario environment ministry has more than 500 reports of excessive noise — but nothing is being done. Why?  Computers say everything is OK.

August 13, 2018

Residents forced to live inside the 110-turbine Underwood wind power project operated by Enbridge have been waiting patiently to find out what the results were of a long-awaited post-operational acoustics audit.

Their wait is now over, but they’re not happy.

Residents received telephone calls recently from the Owen Sound Office of the (now) Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to the effect that the Underwood project audit report concludes it complies with Ontario wind turbine noise regulations.

In a letter dated July 27th, Owen Sound District Manager Rick Chappell wrote:

“The report states that based on the results of the assessment, the Underwood Wind Project is in compliance with applicable sound level limits at your location.”

Chappell then apologizes for the “stress” caused by the assessment process, but makes no mention of the many reports filed with the ministry by the family, or of the adverse health effects possibly experienced.

The acoustics audit was prepared by Aercoustics Engineering, a firm that does acoustics assessments for many wind power developers, and also helps them prepare noise assessments for their applications for approval.

The assessment was first done in 2015, under the government’s previous noise protocol, but was not accepted. Aercoustics explains how the data was prepared (recycled) for the new report.

As an alternative, Aercoustics proposed that the turbine electrical power threshold be
replaced by a threshold based on rotational speed. These findings and recommendations
were presented to the MOECC in a memo dated November 15, 2017. This memo, along
with the correspondence with the MOECC, is attached to this report in Appendix F.
With the alternative assessment methodology, based on turbine rotational speed rather
than power output, a full dataset was possible using Aercoustics’ measurement data at
R144 from July 8 to September 7, 2015. Valcoustics’ measurement data was used for
receptor R145 spanning May 1 to September 30, 2015; the added data was required due
to the wind direction during the summer months invalidating most of the measurement
data at R145. (Source: Aercoustics Assessment Report Project 15143.01, January 30, 2018, page 5)

The audit was done on two of the project’s 110 wind turbines, in response to noise complaints from the residents. The revised report was produced three years after the original.

The audit also assumed that a single turbine was worthy of assessment and shut the other turbines down, in the fallacious/convenient belief that multiple turbines do not have an accumulated effect.

Complaints lodged, no action taken

Wind Concerns Ontario has copies of Incident Reports and Master Incident files provided under a Freedom of Information request from the then Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. The collection of documents from 2006 to 2016 show that there are 515 reports of excessive noise related to the Underwood wind project.

In one report dated April 2011, ministry staff notes say that the caller was told there would be an audit by Valcoustics and a report provided, equipment was installed from November 2009 to April 2010 , but no results were ever provided to the caller. Staff note a report (number 66) was made to a Bob Simpson of Enbridge; the closing note says “noise modeling indicates no exceedances.”

In another report, also dated 2011, the caller to the ministry Spills Action Line reports “loss of sleep due to wind turbine noise” –this adverse effect is recorded again through several more calls. The ministry staff person notes “advised the caller that he should contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit… regarding health concerns.”

Aercoustics actually states in the 2018 report that because the monitoring towers were placed closer to the turbines than the residents’ homes, there was “a measure of conservatism … actual turbine-only sound at the receptors is expected to be lower than those measured at monitoring locations.”

In the case of one turbine assessed, that distance was only 38 metres.

Table 2: Receptor Measurement Locations

Receptor Location UTM Coordinates Distance to
Turbine [m]
Predicted Sound Level*
R144 Receptor 17T 458093mE
4907987mN
537 39
Monitor 17T 458092mE
4908028mN
  499
R145 Receptor 17T 459854mE
4907073mN
453 39.8
Monitor** 17T 459931mE
4907082mN
  375

Predicted level taken from Table 4 of the Revised Environmental Noise Assessment [1], sound
level at 6 m/s.
Predicted level taken from Table 3 of the Revised Environmental Noise Assessment [1], sound
level after
wind direction adjustment. * UTM coordinates for R145 monitor taken from Aercousticsmonitoring equipment, which was
erected less than 10 meters from Valcoustics monitoring equipment

 

“This determination of compliance in the face of hundreds of complaints about this project, which has been operating since 2008, is nothing short of outrageous,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson.

“It is a violation of the government’s own Environmental Protection Act to have allowed this many noise complaints to go on for so long, especially with the staff notations of adverse health effects. All the ministry does is talk about testing and compliance—they are not responding to the real problems that people are reporting to them. Acceptance of this whitewash report is a complete failure of their mandate to protect.”

To read the Aercoustics report, click here: http://www.enbridge.com/~/media/EF4720063692403B82FD1AA859689E0F.ashx

If the link does not work for you, follow these directions from Enbridge:  www.enbridge.com, and then go to ‘An interactive experience:  Our North American assets map’ on the home page.  Click on see the map, and zoom in to find the Underwood Wind Farm (aka Ontario Wind Power Project).  Click on the wind symbol and you will see a link that says ‘Click here to read Aercoustics Engineering’s acoustic immission audit on the Underwood wind farm’. 

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

 

Algoma community group calls attention to wind power negative impacts

A turbine in the Algoma Highlands. Photo: Gord Benner

August 5, 2018

Save Ontario’s Algoma Region or SOAR, has written to MPPs and ministers in the new Ontario government to call attention to the potential for negative environmental and economic impacts from recently constructed wind power projects.

In the letter, SOAR says that the wind power projects will have a negative effect on eco-tourism in the Algoma Region, where tourists come from around the world to visit the formerly pristine environment. The result could be job loss, SOAR says.

“Poverty impacts human health. The energy rates in Ontario which have skyrocketed due to the
policies of “green” energy have impacted all Ontarians—especially those in lower income
brackets and those who live in areas where a sustainable year-round economy is largely
dependent upon eco-tourism in a natural environment untouched by the presence of industrial
wind turbines.”

SOAR says further, the impact on the environment, wildlife and wildlife habitat is not truly known. “Despite the evidence of expert witnesses, to date the Ontario government has removed environmental protections, accepted flawed data from ‘researchers’ hired by wind companies and dismissed the concerns of objectors as self-seeking” SOAR stated in the letter.
As part of the Renewable Energy Approvals granted to the wind power developers, “the Ministry of the
Environment requires data of bird and bat mortality to be presented at post-operational community meetings for a 3-year period only. After that time, the public must request bird and bat mortality statistics directly from the wind companies,” SOAR says.

That is not enough oversight to ensure protection for the environment and wildlife.

SOAR is a community group member of the Wind Concerns Ontario coalition.

Read the entire letter here: Letter of Concern from SOAR re Industrial Wind in Algoma

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

 

 

 

Nation Rise project will create noise, health problems: WCO president to Tribunal

(C) ONTARIO FARMER

July 31, 2018

Report by Tom van Dusen

Finch, Ontario — Sitting demurely and speaking quietly, on July 24 the volunteer president of Wind Concerns Ontario blasted the provincial government approach to monitoring industrial wind turbines, accusing it of ignoring complaints about noise, health and other issues, or deferring them with no subsequent action.

Jane Wilson made  her comments while presenting as a witness during an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into the Nation Rise wind power project planned for Stormont County. The hearing is scheduled to continue through August 2.

Currently engaged in the approval process, the project is sponsored by EDP Renewables Canada and calls for installation of some 33 turbines in North Stormont farm country delivering a total of 100 megawatts of power that, opponents observe, the province doesn’t need.

Headed by local resident Margaret Benke, opponents were hopeful the new Doug Ford government would cancel Nation Rise just as it did the White Pines wind project in Prince Edward County. But that didn’t happen and opponents’ legal fees and other expenses are up to $20,000. Benke noted that, with Ford in place, Nation Rise isn’t likely to proceed and yet opposing residents are still on the hook for costs.

Government not enforcing the law

A registered nurse, Wilson said Wind Concerns represents a coalition of more than 30 community groups across Ontario.

She emphasized that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change–renamed Environment, Conservation and Parks — has pledged to protect the environment and human health from any turbine side effects.

She cited former Environment Minister Glen Murray congratulating his officials for responding quickly to complaints and enforcing the law. However, Wilson’s review of incident reports obtained through Access to Information indicated the ministry doesn’t respond to all complaints and “does not, therefore, enforce the law.”

No answer to that

Total number of incident reports filed with the ministry between 2006 and 2016 was 4,574, Wilson told Maureen Cartier-Whitney, chair of the one-person panel. Records showed that in more than 50 per cent of formal complaints, there was no ministry response. Another 30 per cent were deferred. “In fact, only one percent received priority response.”

While he asked for some clarification, Paul McCulloch of the ministry’s Legal Services Branch, didn’t dispute Wilson’s basic facts. Representing EDP, lawyer . Grant Worden also offered no challenges to Wilson.

The repetitive nature of various complaints suggests, Wilson continue, that wind power developers are failing to live up to the terms of their approvals by allowing conditions triggering adverse effects including on health, to continue.

“Documented health effects include headache, sleep deprivation, annoyance, and ringing or pressure sensation in the head and ears. Most disturbing was the fact that these health effects were reported many times, and also among children.”

Wilson indicated that 39 per cent of 2006-2016 incident reports referred explicitly to sleep disturbance which is generally blamed for a myriad of diseases and disorders.

“Given the thousands of unresolved noise complaints in Ontario, and given Health Canada results of adverse health effects at distances of 550 metres to 1 km, it is reasonable to question whether the Nation Rise power project will not also engender community reports of excessive noise and adverse effects.”

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

To help support the appeal, which is bringing forward issues never presented to the ERT before, please send a cheque to Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, c/o Wind Concerns Ontario, PO Box 509, 250 Wellington main Street, Wellington ON  K0K 3L0

 

Nation Rise project: significant concerns over health, environmental damage

 

Huron County health investigation: most bothered by wind turbine noise

Home in Huron County: Finally, tracking wind turbine noise complaints — the government isn’t doing it [Photo Gary Moon]
July 31, 2018

The Huron County Health Unit has released an interim report on its public health investigation into wind turbine effects, which was launched earlier this year.

The investigation, approved by the Huron County Board of Health, was in response to the hundreds of complaints filed by residents over excessive wind turbine noise and vibration or sensation. Huron County has some of the largest wind power projects in Ontario.

The public health investigation is being carried out under the authority of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act.

In the interim report (the study is ongoing until the end of the year), the preliminary results are described:

“Of the 40 people who have completed a Registration Survey so far, half are male and most are not leaseholders for a wind turbine company. Approximately 60% of respondents reported they have been bothered, disturbed or annoyed by noise, vibration, light and/or sensations from the wind turbines. Noise was most commonly reported.”

Although the epidemiologist supervising the investigation says the research team has enough participants, they would like more, Dr. Erica Clark told Ontario Farmer last week. Residents can sign up to participate until October 31.

Wind Concerns Ontario has documents from the former Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, received via a request under the Freedom of Information Act, which shows that the Ontario government received more than 4,500 official reports of excessive wind turbine noise and vibration from 2006-2016. The government responded to few of those reports, and in 2015-2016, responded to only about 6.9%.

Meanwhile, Provincial Officers in the Master Incident Reports, which include excerpts from calls made to the government hotline, noted adverse health effects in 35% of those reports.

“That violates both the Renewable Energy Approvals and the Environmental Protection Act,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson, who is a Registered Nurse. “The approvals state that the wind power operators are supposed to investigate every complaint of noise and make sure there is not a repeat —clearly, with some of these Master Reports containing hundreds of calls, that isn’t happening.

“It is a violation of the EPA, section 1 (1) to allow anything, in this case noise, to enter the environment and cause adverse effect,” Wilson says.

“The government has a clear case for enforcing the rules.”

While the Health Unit can carry out the investigation into wind turbine noise and any adverse effect, it will not be able to issue an order to shut down turbine operations, Dr. Erica Clark says.

Under the Green Energy Act, sole responsibility for the wind turbines was given to the Ministry of the Environment, even in matters of human health.

To sign up for the study please go to the Huron County health Unit website here: https://www.huronhealthunit.ca/reports-and-statistics/investigations/wind-turbine-study/

or for more information about the study, please contact Dr. Erica Clark at 519.482.3416 or 1.877.837.6143 extension 2022 or eclark@huroncounty.ca.  You can also contact her by mail at:

Dr. Erica Clark
Huron County Health Unit
77722B London Road RR5
Clinton, ON N0M 1L0

In the meantime, residents experiencing noise, vibration, sensation, or flashing lights/strobe effect/shadow flicker should report these incidents. Please call the Spills Action Centre at 1-866-MOETIPS. Be sure to get an Incident Report number at then time of your call, and keep a record yourself of the time of your call, and what you reported.

Ontario announces cancellation of renewable energy contracts

Citizens of Dutton Dunwich oppose the Invenergy wind power project

July 13, 2018

The Ontario government just announced cancellation of renewable energy contracts for which significant contractual milestones had not yet been met.

The move will save $790 million from being added to electricity generation costs, and passed on to consumers’ electricity or hydro bills.

The contracts to be cancelled likely include the five newest wind power projects, which were awarded contracts by the IESO in 2016, and which have not yet been given final approval. One, the “Nation Rise” project in North Stormont, did get a Renewable Energy Approval on May 4, just days before the write period for the recent election. That project is being appealed by a community group, The Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, a community group member of the Wind Concerns Ontario coalition.

“This was the right decision,” says Jane Wilson, president of Wind Concerns Ontario. “There were significant environmental and health concerns inherent in each of these projects, the communities did not want them but were being forced to have these industrial power projects, and the costs would be yet more burden on Ontario citizens.”

Health effects of the noise produced by the huge wind power generators is a concern especially, as Wilson says, “because there are literally thousands of reports of excessive wind turbine noise across Ontario that are to this day unresolved, and the ministry under the previous government was not even responding to complaints from Ontario families. Staff noted adverse health effects in documents released to us, but no action was taken.

Given this evidence and these serious concerns, it is a good decision not to add to the existing problems with how wind power was implemented in Ontario.”

Basic Feed-in-Tariff Contract Costs[1]

  Name Plate Capacity (MW) Annual Cost ($M) 20 Year Cost ($M) Annual Cost Per Household ($)
Operating Turbines 4,936 $1,693 $33,856 $352
Under Construction   393 $   128 $ 2,567 $ 27
LRP I Projects   (Pre-Construction)   299 $       65 $ 1,307 $ 14
Total 5,628 $1,886 $37,730 $393

[1] Estimated costs are based on FIT Contract rates of $135 per MW and average costs for the RFP projects of $89.5 per MW based estimated actual electricity production.

 

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

From protest to celebration: Ford government cancels wind power in Prince Edward County

An outrage: County residents protest behind-the-scenes final approval of hotly contested wind power project [APPEC photo-Michael LIndon]
July 11, 2018

The protest was kept under wraps until the late morning yesterday in quiet, beautiful Prince Edward County.

A group of residents planned to interrupt a convoy delivering huge wind turbine parts for the “White Pines” wind power project in a peaceful manner, as an expression again of the community’s disapproval of the power project being located in the historic Loyalist area.

The environmental risks of the power project were significant — so much so that the original 29-turbine project had been reduced to 27, then finally to 9, and the remaining approval came with conditions for the Germany-based power developer WPD in order to protect the environment and wildlife. Several wildlife and nature groups have supported the fight, emphasizing the immense danger to migratory birds from the turbines, close to the shore of Lake Ontario and on a major migratory bird pathway.

The company’s commitment to those conditions has been questioned as it worked through the halt period required to protect endangered Blandings turtles; the citizens’ group, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County or APPEC filed numerous actions requesting a stay of construction. Earlier this week, WPD was charged with violating the Environmental Protection Act.

And then there is the power grid in Ontario: the electricity that could be produced (wind is notoriously intermittent and produced out of phase with demand) is not required in Ontario, which has a surplus of power and has been paying generators not to produce, as well as selling power on the electricity market for bargain-basement prices.

The community has been fighting the power project for 10 years, mostly in court, with a few peaceful demonstrations such as a march through Picton last fall.

Recently, it was learned that despite the fact Ontario’s soaring electricity bills were a major issue in the election campaign throughout the province, aided by the cost of wind power contracts, and the fact that this wind power project was a contentious issue in the riding, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) actually issued the final approval or Notice To Proceed, during the writ period.

“The previous Liberal government was in ‘caretaker’ mode when the IESO on May 11 green-lighted the litigation mired project,” said community member Liz Driver. “The community knows that the IESO were fully aware that wind projects were an election issue and that the PCs pledged to cancel projects still in development. As local journalist Rick Conroy explained in his June 27 commentary in the local Wellington Times newspaper  the IESO decision trod upon centuries of parliamentary custom.

“The Notice to Proceed was kept under wraps by IESO, the wind company and the Liberals. The IESO only revealed the Notice to Proceed on its website just before the transfer of power to the PCs on June 29 to the astonishment of the community.”

The community members decided to make a point and actually interrupt the turbine delivery only to find out at the end that Ontario’s new government had announced cancelling the project was one of three priorities for its emergency call-back of the Legislature.

The issue was “time-sensitive,” said local MPP Todd Smith who is also Government House Leader, in making the announcement. The power developer was working at breakneck speed to complete the project in hopes it wouldn’t be — couldn’t be — cancelled, contrary to the PC Party promises during the election. Until the Notice To Proceed was issued in secret in May, the power developer had been working at its own risk incurring costs, and without significant permits from the municipality.

The developer has been working evenings and weekends to try to complete the project.

“If I hadn’t seen it myself, I wouldn’t have believed how fast they can put those things up,” said Paula Peel, a member of the executive of both APPEC and Wind Concerns Ontario.

The government will introduce legislation Thursday regarding the project.

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

 

Wind farm contracts can be cancelled: legal opinion

Companies without a Notice To Proceed or who have not reached key milestones “have reason to be concerned”

July 6, 2018

In a just released review of the energy landscape in Ontario under the new Ford government, Mike Richmond, wind power contract specialist with law firm McMillan LLP, says the contracts between government and wind power developers can be cancelled in certain situations.

Wind Concerns Ontario has long maintained this to be true, even recommending to the Wynne government that an effective way to reduce electricity bills for Ontario consumers — or at least, not have them go higher — was to cancel the $1.3B of new wind power contracts and to cancel any others where significant milestones have not been met.

Mr. Richmond’s legal opinion and review is here.

The government will be directing IESO to exercise termination rights

An excerpt:

Developers, lenders, construction firms, installers, landlords and other clients with interests in contracts for projects which have not yet been granted Notice to Proceed (NTP) by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) (or acceptance of Key Development Milestones for Large Renewable Procurement (LRP I) projects) have reason to be concerned.

While the [PC election] platform was not long on detail, it was absolutely clear that where pre-construction contracts contain provisions allowing the IESO to terminate at or prior to NTP or other equivalent milestones, before expensive capital equipment has been delivered and installed, the Government will be directing the IESO to exercise those termination rights.

Anticipating such a directive, the IESO had already begun holding back on the issuance of NTP approvals for Feed-In Tariff (FIT) projects prior to the June 29 swearing-in, instead electing to issue NTP Deferral Notices. By doing so, the IESO is able to limit its liability for the eventual termination of those projects to the “Pre-Construction Liability Limit”, which is set at:

  • $400,000 plus $2.00/kW for wind, biogas or biomass facilities;
  • $250,000 plus $10.00/kW for solar facilities; or
  • $500,000 plus $20.00/kW for waterpower facilities.

These figures only represent liability caps. To be eligible even for these amounts, developers will have to be able to demonstrate that they incurred, after being awarded a FIT Contract, “soft” costs up to these amount for items such as environmental approvals, EPC and financing contract negotiations, land rights, resource assessments, connection cost deposits, equipment deposits and permitting. Costs spent on generating equipment (other than reasonable non-refundable deposits), and amounts representing lost profits, are not eligible.

Some questions remain:

Given the stated election platform, and the fact these contracts were a key campaign issue, why then did the Wynne government issue a Renewable Energy Approval to Portugal-based EDPR  for its unneeded 100-MW “Nation Rise” wind project just days before the writ was drawn up for the June election, and why did the IESO toss its termination rights overboard on the WPD “White Pines” project, during the active election campaign?

What pressures were brought to bear on the former government by the power developers?

And why are taxpayers now being forced to pay for the new government’s defence of a bad decision made by the Wynne government, in the Nation Rise appeal?

contact@windconcernsontario.ca